Money Wise--Putting Toaster Bags to the Test

The promise to make cooking quicker and easier can sell lots of kitchen gadgets. But sometimes those gadgets end up being more trouble than they're worth. So how do you know which ones are worth your money? We put some new ones to the test.

They are called toaster bags and they promise a lot. Drop two slices of bread and cheese in non-stick bags, toss in the toaster oven, and before you know it, a mouth-watering grilled cheese sandwich.

"When we first heard about these bags, we thought they sounded interesting but we were a little skeptical so we decided to put them to the test," Marjorie Cubsino, an appliances tester for the Good Housekeeping Institute.

The institute tested two brands: Toast-It and Toastabags. There was little difference in performance between them. Good Housekeeping tried cooking bacon. Those results were disappointing.

"The slices would slide to the bottom of the bag and they cooked very unevenly," reported Cubsino. "We had results from raw bacon to some that were lightly cooked and golden but it was not crisp."

French toast was another disaster. "The bread browned unevenly and some of the egg mixture dripped into the bottom of the bag instead of staying onto the bread."

In addition to their cooking problems there were some safety issues. On occasion the bags did not remain centered in the toaster, and so came in direct contact with a heating element, a potential fire hazard.

Toastabags say they don't recommend cooking products that produce liquids while Toast-It says the "melted fat from bacon or the egg mixture that collect at the bottom of the bag" helps with "reduced cleanup." Toast-It says its Teflon bags cannot catch fire and in any case should be "kept away from the heating elements."

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Reported by: Dmitra Denmark,